A Little Girl Lost

Archive for the ‘faith’ Category

My Cross


I found an old jewelry box at a yard sale years ago. It lay open with baubles and chains draped over it like a pirate’s treasure chest. While looking through the booty I spotted a shining gold cross. I gently untangled its dark chain and found the price tag. It read “$1.50”. I was elated as I made my purchase.
My joy dissipated on Sunday. I thought, “I’m not good enough to wear this beautiful cross.” Guilt and fear weighed heavy on my mind and the cross lay in my jewelry box.
I went on a Christian retreat three years later where I finally accepted God’s love and forgiveness for this sin-filled, moth-eaten child of God.
I began wearing my cross on Sundays. For eight months, I experienced a freedom that turned my sorrows into joy. I testified at every opportunity no matter where I was.
After my accident, I fell back into feeling unworthy. Paralysis left my body without sensation and uncontrollable. Depression wrapped its tentacles around my heart and soul choking life out of me. 
I came to myself through the immovable love and encouragement of my family and close friends. From then on, I wore that cross daily to remind me that Christ died for me.
I became ill a few years ago and stopped wearing my jewelry, as I didn’t get out of bed much.
One day I wanted to wear my cross. My caregiver and I couldn’t find it. I said, “Well, I hope whoever has it is blessed by it.
That cross can’t be replaced but no one can steal my faith. The empty cross is proof that Jesus lives and my faith is strengthened each time I see one.
In Christ,
Berta
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Enrich Your Faith

Every night as Earl and I prepare for bed, Earl places my Bi-PAP mask over my nose to help me breathe oxygen-rich air as I sleep. When he lays down he positions his C-PAP mask over his nose and turns the machine on to help him breathe deep and oxygenate his blood.
All our lives we have inhaled and exhaled with hardly a thought—taking breathing for granted. With these therapeutic measures, we’ve discovered afresh how oxygen truly sustains our body. Without it, our minds become confused and disoriented. Our bodies weak and tired.
When I take deep refreshing breaths to fill my lungs with oxygen-rich air I feel the strength return in my body and my mind clears.
This is often the way we relate to God. It’s easy to take the breath of God, the Holy Spirit, for granted. Shallow Bible reading and irregular Bible study allow our Christian faith to become lethargic and our relationship with the Lord wanes.
Sometimes we need “therapeutic measures” to enrich our faith. Most Christian churches have a multitude of faith-enriching activities. Whether you like large or small, young- middle- adult- or seniors, men’s or women’s Bible study groups they’re all available. Local, national and international mission opportunities abound for growing stronger in our faith.
You can read daily devotionals or follow a Bible reading plan. Read, watch or listen to stories of Christian faith, tribulation and triumph. Recently I watched a video of Billy Graham preaching in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1970. The era and location was different but God’s word is unchanged.
By actively pursuing ways to enrich our faith, we awaken each morning fresh and energized—ready to share the gospel.
“Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith” (1 Timothy 6:11, 12 NIV).
In Christ,
Berta

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Mildred’s Joy


When I met Mildred, she was sitting on the front porch of the house her betrothed, Louie, had built for her seventy years before.
A widow then, Mildred took care of herself and her home. She hand-stitched quilts, crotched afghans, and reaped from her garden. She canned food and stored things up for winter.
Mildred couldn’t understand why her family spent so much money to put in running water for the kitchen and a bathroom. She told me, “That old well was enough. It’s just me. What do I need?”
Her son drove her to a small whitewashed, Baptist church each Sunday. She proudly told me how she’d gone to that church every Sunday since she married Louie and how they’d raised their children there.
She didn’t speak any fancy words about religion. She praised God in all His creation and thanked Him in simple words of joy. She didn’t have much, but she laid one of her treasures, a beautiful hand-stitched quilt, on the rough wood porch as a “pallet” for my infant daughter.
I soon moved from that quiet part of Louisiana, but Mildred and I wrote to each other for several years. The last letter I received was from her son as Mildred had gone to be with the Lord. He had read my letter’s and thanked me for the sweet friendship.
Mildred edified the simple life of a strong faithful child of God. I didn’t see that in 1981—nor tonight until the words appeared before me on my computer screen. Mildred’s joy was in the Lord. Her strength came from Him.
In this time of health issues for myself, I have been praying for strength. How wonderful that God reminded me of Mildred at such a time as this.
“Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength’” (Nehemiah 8:10 NIV).
In Christ,
Berta
Friends, remember to share with your friends. People are being blessed around the world for God. I am so thankful to be a broken vessel in the hands of a loving God. May He bless you.

Tell Your Story

You all know how much I talk about my Jesus. Well, while reading some journal notes about my rehab days at Shepherd, I read about my weekend nurse, Teresa. We had a lot in common; we were both Christians, United Methodists, wives, mothers and registered nurses.
We talked about our faith and daily struggles. We talked about what God was doing in our lives and what we could do for others. Teresa assumed I knew the Bible well and called me her preacher.
That was the first time I shared my story. I’d only been studying the Bible and attending church regularly for eight months before my accident. I’d learned much in that short time. (Being married to a preacher helped.)
After years of low self-esteem, a poor self-image and worry about what people thought, I stepped out in faith and climbed on to my soapbox for JESUS.
When people ask questions about my appearance, I tell about my accident. When I catch someone staring, I smile and nod. If they’re close enough I say, “Hi.” Often shoppers near me hear a strange creaking and stop. I speak up, “It’s me. I have a ball bearing going out.” We laugh and the ice is broken. I ask anyone near me to set items I want to purchase on my table. Store cashiers carefully handle my credit card or cash and ask, “Is this OK?”
At each point, I see an opportunity to share what God has done and is doing in my life. Your opportunities are there. A sick child healed. The baptism of an elderly father. A mission trip full of miracles. Assisting the birth of a child. Volunteering at Vacation Bible School. Changing a tire.
“Come and see what God has done, his awesome deeds for mankind!” (Psalm 66:5 NIV).
In Christ,
Berta
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Caught In a Storm of Faith



After I made a profession of faith and the pastor baptized me I thought, “Shouldn’t I feel saved?” I wondered what I did wrong.

Caught in a storm of faith, I believed I was unforgivable. I avoided Christians, Sunday school, and Bible study—fearing condemnation. When I opened my heart to God’s love and forgiveness, many wounds healed and sinful habits fell away.

Are you caught in a storm of faith?

Through the Easter season, we read about many instances of failed faith by those who knew Jesus best. Peter denied him and the cock crowed. (Luke 22:60) The disciples hid behind locked doors in fear. (John 20:19) Thomas insisted on touching Jesus wounds to believe. (John 20:25)

Are we of stronger faith than the disciples? Is our storm any different? Not mine. Like the disciples, I lived in the flesh for many years. The devil knows our weaknesses and failures as he knew the disciples. Our separation from God pleases the evil one.

After reading a children’s book about Elijah and Elisha, I prayed for faith like theirs. Then one day, in the midst of my storm, Jesus showed up, cleaned me up and filled me up! Yet I still fall short of God’s desire in my faith daily and must feed on his word continuously.

“Strengthen your commitment to Christ—now. Don’t wait until the storms of temptation, or sickness, or old age threaten to blow you off-course; now is the time to strengthen your faith.” ― Billy Graham, The Heaven Answer Book.

“When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?’ ‘Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,’ Elisha replied (2 Kings 2:9 NIV).

In Christ,

Berta

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Besetting Sins

After my baptism at age 28, I didn’t feel “saved.” Did I not get it? Am I still the same? What did I do wrong?

Over time, I couldn’t break free from many of my sins. Each time I sinned, I confessed then I sinned again. I couldn’t stop the cycle. I didn’t understand why and I felt trapped.

I hated myself and my life. I suffered from debilitating loneliness as I pulled away from people who loved me.  I lost hope of ever experiencing victory.

Through a Christian ministry, I was encouraged to read TheBondage Breaker by Neil Anderson. Suddenly aware of the spiritual realm, I learned about spiritual footholds and attacks of condemnation.

Even though I’d made a profession of faith, Satan had access to my spirit. Sins of my past that I still felt guilt over had allowed footholds. He wanted me to suffer and believe God couldn’t or wouldn’t forgive me.

Jesus shed His blood for the forgiveness of our sins, and prayer in His name breaks the bonds Satan has on us. Therefore, we must turn to Jesus and resist Satan to experience freedom in Christ.

I was right to confess my sin, but I had failed to follow through. Binding Satan through the power of Jesus blood will set you free.

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7 NIV).

“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:1, 2 NIV).

Pray this prayer, or your own, out loud to protect you and your family from bondage:

Father, I praise You and thank You for the forgiveness of sin Jesus blood supplies, and I bind Satan with that power and in Jesus name. Satan, I bind you and cast you out of my life and the lives of my (family/children). (I’m/we/they are) covered by the blood and you have no authority in (my) life. In Jesus name, Amen

In Christ,

Berta

If this devotion blessed you, would you consider sharing it with your friends? Thanks, Berta

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Charity Begins In Your Heart



As a young girl, I wore my strawberry-blonde hair long and if I had any pride, it was in my hair. I had it cut to shoulder length when I was ten years old and disliked it so much I knew I’d never cut it short again.

Time passed and at twenty-three, I had it cut again—even shorter. I began having it permed in the 80’s and combed it with a pick to make.it BIG. Short, big hair continued through my accident and for a few years after. Having random nurse’s aides “pick out” my hair was frustrating.

In 1996, Earl and I decided to let it grow out. It grew quickly and the young women who took care of me then couldn’t satisfy me either. I considered cutting it off.

Then I heard about donating hair for wigs for children who had lost their hair through cancer treatment. I called St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis and asked for information about Locks of Love. They wanted ten inches and I almost had enough.

Still, I hesitated. People often told me how pretty my hair was and I liked receiving compliments.

Shortly after the Columbine shooting in 1999 I attended a service at a local Baptist church where the pastor told that one of the girls killed was growing her hair out for Locks of Love. I cried over my pride and selfishness.

Having been dependent on others so long, this act of giving my hair helped me focus outward. To be able to do something for another person on my own was the beginning of loving my neighbor for me.

I’ve donated my hair three times and several people were inspired to give their hair after reading my story in the local paper. I will continue in charitable contributions whenever and wherever I’m able.

Charity comes in many sizes and various locations. Be an inspiration.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:36-39 NIV). 

In Christ,
 

Berta

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